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Federal Relations: News Briefs From Indiana’s Delegation

2018-05-11T13:02:13+00:00 May 11th, 2018|

– Representative Jim Banks (IN-3) has been pushing for Congress to permanently repeal the harmful Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule. Put in place by the Obama administration, the rule is on a list of regulations the Indiana Chamber has been actively engaging in to repeal or modify.

The Congressman recently wrote an op-ed in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, Swamped by Bureaucracy, in which he states said: “A bureaucrat who sits behind a desk in Washington does not have the knowledge that a farmer in northeast Indiana does. Farmers across northeast Indiana should not have to worry that the EPA will come knocking on their door to regulate nearly every aspect of their operation, such as farm ditches or wet spots on their land. Instead, they should have the freedom to focus on their work, which provides food and jobs for Hoosier families.”

– It was announced this week that net neutrality rules in the U.S. are set to end June 11, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC voted 3-2 along party lines late last year to scrap its 2015 Open Internet Order, despite backlash from Democrats – including Sen. Joe Donnelly – and protesters calling for an open internet. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has argued the FCC overstepped when it imposed the restrictions.

As a reminder, the Indiana Chamber’s position on net neutrality is as follows: We support free-market competition in the delivery of advanced communications services. The competition in a free-market environment among industry service providers is consistent with providing choice to consumers and an adequate service of last resort in extended service areas.

The Chamber opposes any attempt to impose new regulations on broadband and other next-generation telecommunications services by the FCC, especially through the unilateral reclassification of such services under Title II of the Federal Communications Act. The Indiana Chamber supports the U.S. Congress examining and deciding issues as to net neutrality.

– Former Indiana Governor and U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh introduced Central Intelligence Agency director nominee Gina Haspel before her confirmation hearing this week by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Bayh is a former member of the committee and one of only a select number of Democrats to speak out in favor of Haspel, whose confirmation by the full Senate is expected to be a close vote as of this writing.

– President Trump announced this week that Todd L. Nukes was nominated to be United States Marshal for the Northern District of Indiana. Nukes is currently serving as acting marshal for the same district and has been since 2015. He joined the U.S. Marshall Service in 1990 and has spent his entire career in the northern district of Indiana in a number of roles.

“Todd Nukes is a lifelong Hoosier and a true leader in law enforcement,” Senator Todd Young said. “He will be a great partner in our efforts to fight the opioid crisis and keep Hoosiers safe and secure.”

“Hoosier Todd Nukes has spent his career in a variety of law enforcement positions – including as acting U.S. Marshal in Northern Indiana for the last three years – working to keep families and communities safe and addressing the opioid epidemic,” Senator Donnelly said. “Todd has extensive experience that would serve him well in this position.”

– On Monday, Sen. Young chaired a Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee hearing on international predatory economic practices and how the U.S. should respond. During the hearing, experts assessed China’s use of a variety of predatory economic practices and endorsed Young’s legislation to require a national economic security strategy.

All four experts present agreed with Young that America’s national security rests largely on an economic foundation, and that predatory economic practices by China and others have undermined that foundation for years. They also agreed with Young that, if left unaddressed, these predatory practices will further endanger not only the prosperity of Americans, but also our security.

– Congressman Banks, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, praised the passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act out of full committee Thursday morning. The annual defense authorization bill includes provisions to address threats around the globe, restore military readiness and strengthen America’s strategic capabilities.

“Congress has made tremendous progress over the last few months to provide the resources necessary to rebuild our military, but there is still more work to be done,” said Banks. “In order to address today’s challenges and tomorrow’s uncertainties, we must have the most lethal joint force with cutting-edge capabilities, and this bill is a major step in the right direction.”

Resource: Caryl Auslander at (317) 264-6880 or email: causlander@indianachamber.com